International Sewing Machine Collectors' Society
If your sewing machine, accessory, or ephemera has a name on it, this is the place to start. If we don't have a listing for the name, please use the search function to see if there is any mention of it on our site.
Toy Sewing Machine Information
- ISMACS News Magazine
The International Sewing Machine Collectors' Society is the premiere sewing machine collector's group. A quarterly magazine and access to our annual sewing machine auction are but two membership benefits.
ISMACS Email Digest
Joining the Email Digest
The ISMACS Email Digest is the place to ask all your sewing machine questions. You will be greeted by the internet's finest people and your enquiries will be answered by leading experts.
Sewing Machine Attachment Tins
Many collectors of also collect other items associated with – oil cans, oil bottles, Singer puzzle boxes or sometimes almost anything connected with Singer. (We have three Singer stools in our house, but that's another story).
However, I felt I had to show the Pfaff Zwerge or dwarf tin which is quite well known and very collectable. It dates from about 1906 and must be the only tin with the artist's signature on the front.
Two interesting and attractive tins came from Biesolt & Locke who started making in 1869 in Meissen and in 1893 made the Afrana rotary. Eventually all their machines were called Afrana and Seidel & Naumann continued with the name after buying up the rights in 1918. The odd thing is that both the Biesolt & Locke and the Afrana tins have mirrors on the inside of the lid. Why? Perhaps it was to reflect the gaslight and help the search for a small attachment or needle? Anyway it didn't seem to catch on.
Many tins have lithographed pictures of the company's factory on them, sometimes in monochome on the inside of the lid, or in colour on the outside as with the Original Victoria, from Mundlos of Magdeburg.
There is considerable detail in these drawings if they are enlarged.
One other group of tins that are attractive and collectable are known as 'handbag' 'casket', or 'Kästchen' tins. These were for the Original Victoria, from Mundlos of Magdeburg and for Seidel & Naumann machines from Dresden.
There are several different versions of these and also French and Italian versions as well as German. I know of at least one more version of the Original Victoria that I don't have yet.
Some dates can be estimated by medals shown on the tins. Although, like patent dates on plates, the dates will only indicate that the tin must have been produced after the latest date shown, it would be reasonable to assume that it would not have continued to be made much later than the date of other awards shown on other tins.
e.g., one Original Victoria tin shows off "Goldene Medaillen" won at Tasmania and Lubeck in 1892 and 1895; another shows these plus awards from Petersburg and Magdeburg in 1904 and a third lists these awards together with others dated 1905.
ISMACS Quick Links
ISMACS is an organization totally independent of all sewing-machine manufacturers, past or present and is not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in these pages. Please Note: Do not contact any ISMACS official in an attempt to solicit a valuation - it is not possible other than by hands-on assessment and your request will be ignored.
All rights reserved by ISMACS INTERNATIONAL, under International and Pan American copyright conventions. Reproduction or copy of this page, in any form, in part or in whole, is strictly prohibited, without prior, written permission.